March 6, 2009

Downturn bringing boomers back to financial planning

The biggest setback for boomers, according to research, has been neglectful financial planning because they don't fully understand the value and are embarrassed they haven't accumulated more assets, thus ignoring the problem. But it seems the crisis is bringing boomers back to reality - good news for financial planners. Seventy-three percent of advisors say the downturn has brought their boomer clients' focus back on financial planning, according to the Partnership for Retirement Education and Planning (PREP).

The economic downturn has no doubt been hardest on the boomer generation. In fact, 77 percent of financial service professionals say no other generation is taking the blow quite as hard as this one.

"The current economic downturn has hit at a bad time for people who are in their late 50s or early 60s and haven't prepared for the future," says Philip E. Harriman, CLU, ChFC, past president of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) and contributing writer for Senior Market Advisor. "With a simultaneous strain on employment, home values and investments, these Boomers are being hit harder now than generations older or younger. If there is a silver lining in this dark cloud, perhaps this is a wake-up call for Boomers to get busy managing their financial well-being."

Furthermore, according to research, advisors who consider themselves "experts" at financial and retirement planning and who also take a comprehensive look at their clients' financial, family and life goals appear to better serve their clients and to be more successful in their own business than those who don't focus on either type of planning. "Planning experts" say their typical client has twice the total assets as those with advisors who were more focused on individual product sales. The study shows advisors who approach client relationships with longer-term focus had three times the assets under management and reported 40 percent higher revenue.

Research was conducted on behalf of PREP by Matt Thornhill and The Boomer Project, which also teamed with Boomer Market Advisor in the March cover feature, "Behavior economics, your boomer clients - and you." Catch it online now at www.boomermarketadvisor.com.

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